communications

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About Northwood Northwood Realty is among the largest independent real estate companies in America. They cover multiple states and their 38 offices are focused mainly on the densely populated areas of Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio. They are a full service firm with 974 agents, offering residential, finance, relocation, and insurance. Northwood is pioneering a program for agent training that introduces an effective model for other brokers to consider. It’s called Northwood Tech Trainers. About Northwood Trainers Northwood deploys five field trainers to support just under 1000 agents.  The ratio is effectively one trainer to every 200 agents. The field trainers also have one supervisor, bringing their total department count to six. Tech trainers are assigned and integrated into offices and physically visit each office at least once a week. Agents can sign up for 30 or 60 minute sessions as often as they like, covering basically anything to do with technology—from the many Northwood programs, to helping setup a new phone or laptop, social networking and more. They are always available by telephone and email and additional tech support sessions can be held using JoinMe in group sessions or one on one with an agent/manager or admin. Program Costs Northwood considers technology and training a core benefit of their brokerage. They do not charge agents any technology fees nor do agents pay for training. They offer an extensive array of technology products that are all integrated into the CoreLogic AgentAchieve platform, including agent website, agent CRM, agent CMA, Property Panorama virtual tours, Listen 360 Agent Ratings, Gmail, SkySlope Transaction Management, Five Street, zipForm Plus, VoicePad, eProperty Watch AVM, Collateral Analytics and others. If you do the math, you can multiply 1000 agents times the fees for each of these technology solutions and recognize that they are making a major investment in agent productivity. Northwood took a big risk with this strategy a few years ago. They recognized that charging agents would be a barrier to the adoption of these technology tools, so they decided not to charge. They also recognized that offering products without a significant effort to drive adoption and training would lead to low adoption. By creating the Tech Training department to support these products, they have accelerated agent adoption beyond many of their peers. Now, in the fourth year of the plan, production per agent has risen significantly with many more agents lifting their production into the top production categories in their company. In […]

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Using Market Data to Drive Media Coverage

by Steve Cook on March 22, 2016

real estate data drive news

Are you getting published in your local media? Is your firm shaping the way opinion leaders and real estate consumers view critical issues in your housing market Associations, MLSs, and brokerages have access to the best local data ever available on trends in their local markets. Sales, prices, inventories, time on market—every day real estate professionals interpret these and other data to win the confidence of their customers and clients. You have a significant opportunity to turn market data into news that attracts business and establishes credibility. National data services like RealtyTrac and CoreLogic as well as sites like Realtor.com, Zillow and Redfin have perfected the practice of building awareness by creating news from their data. As a result, it is easier for consumers to track the non-existent “national” real estate market than their local marketplace. They are hungry for a better understanding of current trends where they live. Market trends aren’t always positive. Lower sales, falling prices, distress sales and tight inventories are part of the real estate business, but they can also generate negative coverage. If you are a credible source and on top of the market, you can mitigate potentially damaging data by putting it into perspective. Remember, the market is always working to someone’s advantage. Lower prices advantage buyers and first time home buyers. Distressed sales create opportunities for property management and investors. Tight inventories drive consumers to sign up with brokers for new listing notifications. Great communications programs highlight the good in everything. Your communications staff or PR firm can help you create news from local market trends, or you can turn to WAV Group Communications to create an effective communications program for your market. Below is an example of how we might handle one of the hottest stories in real estate—chronically low inventories: February Housing Market is Shaping up to be the Sellers’ Market of a Decade February home sales were stronger than normal as demand continued to reduce the average time that houses are selling in Ourtown, according to the latest data available to XYZ Realty. Lower inventories of homes for sale could reflect a national pattern that is creating unusual opportunities for sellers as the spring buying season opens. Sales rose 2 percent from January and now are running 5 percent higher than they were a year ago. New listings also increased 6 percent, but total homes for sale are still below […]

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Just Spell My Name Right

by Victor Lund on January 21, 2016

It’s a new year and you are, no doubt, plotting your communications strategy for 2016. We published an article about the top 10 posts of the year on Facebook recently that ignited deeper thought about communication strategies that work. Entertainment is certainly one of them. If the Disney family is the first family of Entertainment in American History, P.T. Barnum is certainly a cousin. Legend has it that he is also responsible for one of the most famous quotes in the PR business: “I don’t care what you say about me, just spell my name right.” If you read the writings of Victor Lund, you know that I write fast and spell horridly. My mother, saint Stella, was kind enough to keep every report card from my school days and I assure you that I received an A in every English class throughout my education. I am not sure where I went off the track. In high school at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, I converted to word processing. I doubt that I submitted much written work at all after that. A reliance on spell check may be my downfall. Having a mother who was raised in the Alabama, growing up near Fargo, North Dakota, and a year of University in England are also likely contributors. The most likely candidate is my failure to proofread my prose. Thankfully, Kevin Hawkins leads WAV Group Communications. He is deliberate and careful with the message of every communication, including the title, length, paragraph, sentence structure, and the fastidious attention to the handling and the nurturing of every chosen word. In my experience, his only equal may be Rozlynn Crew from the Houston Association of REALTORS. If you allow for the Canadian influence, John Mosey of the Northstar MLS is in the same league. So let’s start the year remembering a few rules of our industry. RE/MAX is always capitalized. “Re/Max” is wrong. When referring to the NAR, REALTOR® is in all caps and includes the ®. After the initial use, REALTOR without the ® is fine. There is a whole bunch of information on the dos and don’ts of using the REALTOR mark on this page: http://www.realtor.org/letterlw.nsf/pages/trademarkmanual Communications began to replace advertising in 2006 when online publishing and email marketing began to show better results. Here we are, one decade later and so many real estate firms of all flavors are missing this opportunity to engage important […]

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